The Jacksonville Jaguars technically “won” their Week 2 preseason matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, but these games are meant to fine tune starters, evaluate backups, and shake out the last few spots of the depth chart.
By that measure, the drives where the starters are in — specifically the starting quarterback — are where preseason games are “won” and “lost”.
And it was... well, it was something.
Blake Bortles is who he is and that was no more evident than at the end of the first quarter when he led the starters’ only scoring drive of the game. It was the best and worst of Bortles which, ironically, is quite average for him.
There were dreadful mistakes and highlights, things that worked and things that didn’t, and when push came to shove Bortles somehow got it done without actually doing quarterback things.
So how did Bortles’ only scoring drive go down? Let’s take a look.
Play #1: 1st and 10 at JAX 30
The team is starting out again with a run up the middle, but with several starters along the offensive line held out, Leonard Fournette wasn’t really able to get anything going — earning just 12 yards on eight carries.
This, however, was a nice six yard gain with Fournette not even seeing contact until he was three or four yards past the line of scrimmage.
Play #2: 2nd and 4 at JAX 36
I really like this play design. From Cam Robinson turning left to allow Eric Kendricks a lane that opens up the entire play to the formation and play development forcing the defensive formation to start away from where the ball is really going and gives Dede Westbrook.
Play #3: 1st and 10 at JAX 42
Okay, yeah, we’re gonna talk about this.
First, Cam... bro... we gotta do better.
Second, Bortles’ ability to shake off Danielle Hunter is impressive. But a pump fake and a run towards the left sideline would be the better option than throwing the deep ball to *squints* Niles Paul?
Lastly, this isn’t the only time Niles Paul was targeted on a deep route this game. I’m curious to see how much of that we see in the regular season.
Either way, it’s offensive pass interference and the ball is backed up 10 yards.
Play #4: 1st and 20 at JAX 32
Here’s where the fun begins — screens and passes out into the flat to running backs!
This offense was hitting on all cylinders when the running backs started to be featured in the passing game.
P.S. Josh Wells at right tackle.
Play #5: 2nd and 12 at JAX 40
I do enjoy Bortles’ willingness to stand in the pocket and know the hit is about to come to wait for Donte Moncrief to break on his route.
Play #6: 1st and 10 at MIN 45
I remember Fred Taylor saying during the broadcast that he used to hate when these types of plays were called. “I’d rather just run between the tackles.”
Yes, Fred. Yes.
Play #7: 2nd and 10 at MIN 45
How did T.J. Yeldon get... quicker? He legitimately looks faster — like in Madden when your guy gets a bump in his speed stats over the offseason.
Also, can we please have more of these two-back formations in the regular season. I am definitely down for Fournette and Yeldon in the same backfield.
Keelan Cole does a great job blocking downfield and it looks like even he’s surprised with how easily Yeldon is able to get downfield.
Play #8: 1st and 10 at MIN 34
If Bortles puts this ball a little closer inside, it’s a touchdown and we’re having a much different conversation when it comes to trading for Teddy Bridgewater this week. As it stands, it’s a great route by Marqise Lee and a tremendous sell that the route was stopping near the sideline — but you gotta put more than one hand on this thing, man.
Play #9: 2nd and 10 at MIN 34
Great job here by all three interior offensive linemen in getting downfield — Brandon Linder, A.J. Cann, and Chris Reed. Their blocks sprung Yeldon for probably 15 yards he wouldn’t otherwise have.
Play #10: 1st and GOAL at MIN 5
Play #11: 1st and GOAL at MIN 10
Delay of game on the previous play backs the offense up to the 10 yard line. James O’Shaughnessy has to do a better job of blocking. Fournette too. I know it’s Hunter coming off the edge, but still.
Also, where was this play going? Westbrook was coming over the middle, I guess, but other than that no one’s really in a position to be legitimately targeted.
Bortles’ ability to technically not get sacked until the ref blows the whistle is hilarious.
Play #12: 2nd and GOAL at MIN 15
Yeah, I don’t really know what happened here either.
Play #13: 3rd and GOAL at MIN 15
In all seriousness, I do think Blake needs to do more of this — especially in the red zone. If the play isn’t there and you have a lane, take it. He’s a legit threat running the ball and he has total disregard for his body when he’s close to the goal line, which is surprising that he’s literally missed one snap in his entire NFL career due to injury.
Play #14: 4th and GOAL at MIN 1
When you feel like giving up, just remember that Fournette scored a touchdown out of a three-point stance in the year 2018. Anything is possible.